Interview the Creatives: Mayflower Theatre Summer Youth Project - Writer and Assistant Director
Ahead our upcoming Summer Youth Theatre’s production of Peter Pan – An Awfully Big Musical Adventure we've been speaking to the Creative Team behind the project. Next up is Jacquelyn Ockwell - Writer and Assistant Director.
Tell us a bit about your background:
I started in local youth theatre, amateur dramatics and school plays and then National Youth Theatre and drama school.
Where do you get your ideas from? Do you have any tips on creativity?
Ideas come from reading, seeing as much performance work as possible live and recorded all over the place, art galleries (and they are free), real life - listening and watching people (free too but be subtle!!)
I allow myself time for ideas to come, space to think, so I often leave my desk and go for walks where I have no interruptions and no pressures of a blank screen. I try not to fill my head with podcasts and music when I’m travelling as I often get my best thoughts when I’m relaxed and driving or looking out the window from a train. I use voice memos on my phone to record ideas and sometimes act out all the characters in a scene as I stroll through the forest (I do get some funny looks and occasionally have to pretend I’m calling my dog or on a phone call!)
Creativity needs to flow without judgement , I always throw every idea onto the paper or to the team and some are truly awful but I get it all out so that the one golden nugget of an idea gets shared. However also remember that when explored rubbish ideas can be brilliant starting points that could actually bring about some great work. Try things out and don’t be too hasty to decide what’s good and bad.
If I get stuck I have been known to ask Alexa to play me random things and that sometimes gets me going again with a new idea.
What do you like best about working on the Summer Youth Project?
My favourite thing about SYP is the team (that is cast, crew, creatives, team leaders, adults and children) it changes every year and every year we all work so hard together to bring about such a brilliant production. I love the fact it takes over my life and I live in a Mayflower Theatre bubble for two weeks. I love the build up in the months of planning before the cast arrive, we have an SYP desk in the house and are always tweaking with our ideas and endlessly playing the music - I don’t know if my teenagers love SYP anymore!!! I love the start of each day and the enthusiasm from the cast. I love seeing the cast improve and seeing people return each year. I love Michael’s passion for the engagement of young people and how collaborative he is, I love Simon’s awesome musicality and awful jokes, I love Rebecca’s attention to detail and expectation of good discipline. I love that this show is always about the cast and never about any individual. I love how the entire theatre staff get behind this project every year and totally commit to it and I really believe it is the highlight of the year for many people including myself
In three words, what can the audience expect from this year’s production of Peter Pan?
Mayflower Theatre Summer Youth Project performs on the 16th and 17th of August.